To Stop the Lie (1)
But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped. Psalm 63.11
Lies and liars
It’s surprising how often the Bible speaks of “lies” and “liars.” It’s enough to make you believe the Bible could have been written in our day, when lying is something nearly everyone does, and it isn’t considered polite to suggest that people may be deliberately bending the truth or passing on untruths as part of their normal daily routine.
If there was ever a generation which, as Paul explained, “exchanged the truth of God for the lie” (Rom. 1.25), it certainly is ours.
As believers, we are a much more “tolerant” generation than folks were in the days when prophets and apostles were proclaiming the Word of the Lord. When it came to those who trafficked in lies, half-truths, and outright deceit, the Spirit of God called it like it was and those who were filled with Him didn’t hold back.
In Biblical terms, all those who do not embrace, submit to, live for, and proclaim the truth of God, and all those who ignore, deny, or neglect the Gospel of the Kingdom, are living a lie, or, more specifically, as Paul indicates, the lie. Thus, at least to a certain extent, such people may properly be regarded as liars, and the Bible is not reluctant to describe them as such.
Not that they always lie all the time, or that when they do, they know they are lying. But when lies, doled out like a flood, generously and continuously by the father of lies, provide the framework and much of the substance of a person’s approach to life, that person is a liar, whether they know it or not. Either we accept the language of Scripture or we don’t; but if we don’t, then we’re making ourselves vulnerable to the lie simply by refusing to recognize it as such.
Judge with righteous judgment
Now I know this isn’t going to sit well with some of us. Who does he think he is, calling people liars? Who made him judge and jury over what are lies and what is truth?
Well, the answer to the first question is, it’s not me, but the Word of God calling people liars. And the answer to the second question is, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has called us to judge with righteous judgment (Jn. 7.24), and presumably that means being able to distinguish, by sound reason, truth from the lie in all aspects of human life.
We shouldn’t be surprised by the straightforward way Biblical writers speak of lies and liars. After all, lying is a sin, and we live in a world of sinners, including us. We have all been guilty of lying at some point and, if we haven’t yet faced up to that, well, now might be a good time to start.
Further, since the devil is the father of lies, and Jesus plainly taught that some people are ever under his sway (Jn. 8.44), it shouldn’t surprise us to think that there are people in the world whose outlook and agenda are colored more by lies than by the truth of God.
Finally, the Scriptures teach that, at certain times in history, lies can become so much a part of everyday life that a whole generation can be led astray and not even realize it (cf. Pss. 12, 58; 1 Tim. 4.1-5; 2 Tim. 3.1-9). I submit that we are living in just such an age, an age in flight from God and His truth, an age steeped in and inebriated with the lies of wrong belief.
The hurtful effects of the lie
Every day we see the hurtful effects of the lie: shattered relationships, wasted fortunes, ruined lives, tyrants empowered while the needy and helpless are oppressed, trusting people duped, swindled, or robbed because the lie motivates the choices and behaviors of so many in our day.
The lie is transmitted by the mouths of liars, heard by the ears of those who have turned from the truth of God, and received by all whose basic orientation to spiritual matters is “Yea, hath God said…?” And in our day, in this age of secular materialism and rampant wrong belief, the lie provides the dominant framework for all thought and life.
But we need not despair in the face of such a situation. For, as the psalmist tells us, and Paul, echoing him, those who promulgate policies and actions based on lies will not make much more progress; rather, their lies will be exposed, and their mouths will be stopped (cf. 2 Tim. 3.9). We have God’s Word on it. The lie is running its course, and sooner or later its heyday will come to an end.
But how does that happen? How does God plan to stop the mouths of liars so that their ruinous schemes will be ended, and people will be free to live in the light of truth again?
This is where we come in – you and I.
As I mentioned, Jesus commands His followers to judge with righteous judgment everything that goes on around them (Jn. 7.24). We have the mind of Christ and the Word and Spirit of God, so we’re equipped for such a calling (1 Cor. 2.16; 2 Tim. 3.15-17; Jn. 15.26, 27). He means for us to represent His truth, seek His Kingdom, and take captive for His purposes every thought, idea, worldview, and foolish scheme that raises itself up against the knowledge of God (Matt. 5.13-16; Matt. 6.33; 2 Cor. 10.3-5). We who have been gifted with the mind of Christ are appointed to the task of using that mind, and the sound reason it engenders, to confront, expose, and stop the lie, wherever we encounter it.
We are agents of truth and enemies of the lie. God’s will is that the lie should be stopped so that the truth that is in Jesus can flourish. This is our calling, and the sooner we accept it, the sooner we’ll see the power of the lie beginning to wane and those who promulgate lies left with nothing to say.
1. Paul says all who turn away from the knowledge of God become servants of “the lie” (Rom. 1.18-25). What evidence do you see that this is true in our day?
2. Scripture doesn’t balk or blanch at using the language of lies and liars. Should we? Why or why not?
3. How did Jesus respond to the Lie as He encountered it in His day?
Next steps – Preparation: What evidence would you cite to show how the lie – which says that man, not God, is sovereign – is widespread in our day? Have an extended season of prayer to talk with the Lord about this question.
T. M. Moore
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